Depressed by poor fitness

Health Jul 12, 2019 at 2:21 pm

imageBy Editorial Staff

If you’re not as fit as you’d like right now, you might feel a little down, despondent … even depressed. There’s a connection, suggests research, particularly for women.
Research published in the journal Menopause links poor lower- and upper-body physical performance with depression and anxiety in middle-aged women. Among more than 1,100 women ages 45-69 years, 15 percent reported depression and/or anxiety, but both were more likely and more severe among women with weak upper-body strength (handgrip strength) and poor lower-body strength (longer duration to complete a chair stand test).

Of course, these findings also suggest the opposite: Physical fitness reduces depression / anxiety symptoms, something emphasized in previous research. Strength training and aerobic exercise appear to improve overall mood and reduce depression / anxiety, perhaps because of improved blood flow to the brain and/or because of the release of “feel-good” hormones such as norepinephrine and dopamine.